Did you make a resolution this year to eat better in some way?  I didn’t, but I think I should have because my January (not to mention December) was a nutritional DEEEBAAACLE.   Too many drinks, too many sweets, too many chips, cheese, chicken wings.  Yikes, I know why I don’t keep a food log.

But alas, the beautiful thing about each day is that we get a chance to get up and do better, be better, start over.  Imma gonna start over.

With that said, one of my go to meals virtually every day is a salad.

Salad, shmalad you say?  Does anyone ever get filled up or feel satiated by a salad unless it covered in bacon, blue cheese and croutons?

Well….the good news is yes.

But, I will say that there are times (mainly all the time) when I eat a lettuce salad for lunch and then I spend the rest of the day distracted by thoughts of my next meal and what it might entail.  Visions of cheese sauce and chicken wings and bread and butter dance through my head until I find myself standing at our work refrigerator hoping someone has left something, anything in it for me to eat.  But, alas, they are all on this same crazy plan and there is only yogurt, salsa and a few carrots.

EEEKK….people, bring in some leftover pizza or something!

I digress.

Last year, I  started experimenting with my salad options and have found that by mixing it up a bit, I am much, much more satisfied than with just lettuce and chicken.  Isn’t that what most of us default to when we make a salad?  At some point, chicken became the meat of choice for anyone wanting to be healthy (although we might debate this in another post) and lettuce became the setting for all things low fat and healthy.

But again, after so many chicken salads, most of us are so very ready to dig out a big pizza and dip it in ranch dip or maybe even butter.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing a few of my go to salad options.  The good news, you are going to like them.  The bad news, you might have to at least entertain the thought of trying some new veggies.  Be open minded people.  O-P-E-N minded.

Today I bring you my Spinach, Red Cabbage and Pea Salad with Homemade Balsalmic Dressing.

Don’t freak out!  Don’t hit delete!  You can do this.  You can make your own dressing.  I promise, promise, promise it is not hard.  And I use it on lots of other salads so once you make it, you will have extra.  And, for those of you who did not know that there is another color of cabbage besides green, it’s actually purple (even thought it’s called red) and it is right by the regular cabbage.  Oh, and another bit of good news, its cheapola and keeps for a really long time.  Bonus.

Homemade Balsalmic Dressing

1/2 cup of Balsalmic vinegar

1/2  yellow or white onion, very finely chopped

1 Tablespoon of soy sauce or Braggs Amino Acids

1 big Tablespoon of minced garlic.  (if you don’t have garlic, you can use garlic powder)

1/2-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (this will make it slightly spicy, so you can leave it out if needed)

2/3 cup olive oil

Sprinkle of salt and pepper




Just throw all of this in a container of some sort.  I use the little guy above that I purchased a Talulah’s in Columbia, but before I had it, I used an old cottage cheese container.  Ideally you would let it sit for a day or so before eating, but I’ll be honest, that only happens about 50% of the time for me.

This makes enough for you to keep and use on other salads.  Notice it has no added sugar.  If you start looking at labels, most salad dressing is just packed full of sugar.  This is also why I use the Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce.  Most of us think soy sauce is good for us, but alas, the ingredients on my bottle are “water, salt, sugar, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel color, vinegar, and sodium benzoate.”  Braggs says “vegetable protein from soy beans.”

Spinach, Red Cabbage and Pea Salad



2 cups of chopped red cabbage

4 cups fresh chopped spinach (or kale.  I used kale but often use spinach too)

1 cup frozen peas

4 pieces of cooked bacon

1/2 a yellow pepper chopped

Chop all your ingredients.


Yes, I know I am using bacon.  I use the uncured kind and a lot of the time I will substitute chopped almonds instead of the bacon, fyi.


Even chop your spinach into little pieces.  It won’t take but a second and make the whole salad easier to eat, especially if you have kids or don’t want to go around with extra dressing on your face all day.  Throw all the ingredients into a bowl.


Mix with some dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Depending on if you are making this as a meal or a side salad, it will make enough for 2-4.  I eat it as a meal a lot!